According to researchers at the University of Texas, the Sun could have a sibling that is believed was born from the same cloud of gas as our sun. Astronomers were hoping that this could give fresh insights into how life on earth started.
A star located about 110 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Hercules, has been identified by an international team of astronomers as ” the sister of the Sun ” found. Both stars must have formed in the same cloud of gas and dust just over 4,500 million years ago.
We know where we were born. If we can figure out where in the galaxy the Sun formed, we can narrow the conditions of the early solar system and that would help us understand why we are here,” says Ivan Ramirez, a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin.
The solar sibling, named HD 162826 by the team that made the discovery, is 15% larger than the sun and can be found in the constellation Hercules. It can be seen with the aid of binoculars and is not far from the bright star Vega.
The Sun, HD 162826, and thousands more stars formed by gravitational effects in a cloud of gas and dust in the galaxy, but the objects are formed and now may be dispersed in different parts of the Milky Way, says Ramirez.
Some stars, such as HD 162826, are still in the vicinity of the sun, others will be much further,” he adds.
Ramirez and his team studied 30 stars that other astronomers believed could be potential solar siblings. He managed to narrow down the list by analyzing the orbit and chemical make-up of each star. His team also included information about the stars’ orbits, where they had been and where they are going in their paths around the center of the Milky Way. After taking all this data into account, they were able to pin point HD 162862 as the sun’s sibling star.
The next step will be to try and find if the star has any planets in its orbit which could support life forms.
There is a chance, “small, but not zero,” Ramirez said, that these solar sibling stars could host planets that have life on them. In their earliest days within their birth cluster, he explains, collisions could have knocked chunks off of planets, and these fragments could have traveled between solar systems, and perhaps even may have been responsible for bringing primitive life to Earth.
So it could be argued that solar siblings are key candidates in the search for extraterrestrial life,”Ramirez said.
To conclude, the finding of a single solar sibling is intriguing, but Ramirez points out the project has a larger purpose, which could create a road map for how to identify solar siblings, in preparation for the flood of data expected soon from surveys such as Gaia, the European Space Agency mission to create the largest and most precise 3D map of the Milky Way.
via Sputnik News